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The Rolling Stones announce 'Hackney Diamonds,' their first album in 18 years

The Rolling Stones are releasing their 24th album, the rock 'n' roll band's first in 18 years.

In a live conversation Wednesday with late-night host Jimmy Fallon, the British group — comprised of lead vocalist Mick Jagger, guitarist Ronnie Wood, writer and guitarist Keith Richards and drummer Steve Jordan – announced Hackney Diamonds will come out Oct. 20.

Wood said they began brainstorming ideas for an album around Christmas last year, and gave themselves a deadline to complete it by Valentine's Day. They ended up with 23 songs spanning two albums. The upcoming album was completed in January and mixed in February.

"We were flinging ideas around the table," Richards said. "So we went from Hit and Run, Smash and Grab and somehow between that we came up with Hackney Diamonds."

Hackney is a borough in London and Jagger said "Hackney diamonds" is slang for shattered glass.

The album's lead single, "Angry," was released Wednesday. Its video features actress Sydney Sweeney, who has starred in the HBO shows Euphoria and The White Lotus and was in the audience at the announcement.

Two of the project's 12 songs – "Live by the Sword" and "Mess it Up" – feature the group's late drummer, Charlie Watts. They were recorded in 2019 before his death in 2021 at age 80.

"Ever since Charlie's gone, it's different of course," Richards said.

The rest feature Jordan, an old friend of the band's, on drums. Richards said Watts personally chose Jordan to replace him if anything ever happened to him.

"So it was kind of a natural progression," Richards said. "It would've been a lot harder without Charlie's blessing on that."

Jagger also said original Stones bassist Bill Wyman, who left the band in 1993, plays on one of the tracks with Watts.

Here is the track list for Hackney Diamonds:

  1. "Angry"
  2. "Get Close"
  3. "Depending on You"
  4. "Bite My Head Off"
  5. "Whole Wide World"
  6. "Dreamy Skies"
  7. "Mess It Up"
  8. "Live by the Sword"
  9. "Driving Me Too Hard"
  10. "Tell Me Straight"
  11. "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" 
  12. "Rolling Stone Blues"

Wood confirmed Lady Gaga is featured on "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" and said Stevie Wonder's name another time the song was mentioned, but did not elaborate.

The Stones' last album of original music was 2005's A Bigger Bang. They celebrated their 60th year as a band in 2022. The group said they don't usually think too hard about how their music will be received when they're making it.

"After so long, usually if we like it, it travels," Richards said.

"We wouldn't have put this album out if we hadn't really liked it," Jagger said. "Before we went in, we all said we've got to make a record that we really love ourselves, and other people may like it, other people may not. But we must say that we are quite pleased with it. I'm not saying we're bigheaded about it, but we're pleased with it and we hope you all like it."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]